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The Progressive Presidents


The presidential election of 1912 was the most Progressive in US history, with the two frontrunners, Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, both espousing Progressive philosophies. Although both Wilson and Roosevelt were Progressive, their attitudes toward Progressivism differed, at least in theory. This paper will provide an opportunity to review the complex nature of Progressivism, and to explore how presidents’ policies while in office often differ from their rhetoric on the campaign trail.

Using the primary sources below, compare and contrast the two men’s principles based on their writings, and then, using the textbook and at least one secondary source from the library’s JSTOR or Project MUSE databases, compare each presidents’ political principles with his actions while in office—how well did their actions match their rhetoric?

Draw from the material in the AT LEAST ONE of the Following sources when writing your paper:

  1. Bull Moose Party. (1912, Aug. 7).  Platform of the Progressive party. Retrieved fromhttp://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/primary-resources/tr-progressive/
  2. Roosevelt, T. R. (1910, Aug. 31).  The new nationalism. Retrieved fromhttp://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/primary-resources/tr-nationalism/ 
  3. Wilson, W. (1913, March 4).  First inaugural address. Retrieved fromhttp://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/primary-resources/tr-woodrow/ 
  4. Wilson, W. (1913).  What is progress?. In The new freedom: A call for the emancipation of the generous energies of a people (Chapter II). New York: Doubleday, Page & Company. Retrieved fromhttp://www.gutenberg.org/files/14811/14811-h/14811-h.htm#II 

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